Marking 10th anniversary of creation of Assembly of People of Kazakhstan
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Kazakh Ambassador: UAE Is a Model for Peaceful Coexistence and Multinational Knowledge Exchange

30Marking the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan and convening of the Congress of World Leaders and Traditional Religions, the Kazakh embassy in the UAE, in association with Paris – Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (PSUAD), organized a series of celebratory events, including a lecture titled The Contribution of Kazakhstan to Global Inter-Religious Dialogue, as well as a roundtable and photo exhibit, at PSUAD’s Al-Reem Island campus.

The event was attended by high-level diplomatic guests, notably Kazakh ambassador to the UAE, HE Kairat Lama Sharif, and Dr. Fatima Al-Shamsi, Deputy Vice-chancellor for Administrative Affairs, in addition to a host of PSUAD students, faculty, and members of the Kazakh community celebrating the joyous occasion.

HE Ambassador Kairat Lama Sharif, expressed his delight at representing his country in the UAE, given the distinguished regional and international standing attained by the latter under the wise leadership of HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. He observed that the UAE and Kazakhstan have enjoyed diplomatic relations since 1992 and that 2005 saw the inauguration of both the Emirati embassy in Astana and the Kazakh embassy in the UAE.

HE noted that the UAE has become a nexus of cultures and is a clear model for peaceful coexistence and multinational knowledge exchange. He applauded the UAE’s impressive track record in terms of social development, political stability, ideological moderation, and economic prosperity. He underlined peaceful coexistence between the various communities in the UAE, with over 180 different nationalities living together in peace and harmony across its territory.

Kazakhstan, he said, is determined to promote inter-cultural and interfaith dialogue and to disseminate the values of tolerance and peaceful coexistence between nations and peoples, under the banner of mutual understanding, acceptance, and respect. He noted that, by launching the Congress of World Leaders and Traditional Religions 10 years ago, Kazakhstan has become an international platform for inter-community dialogue, offering a model for peaceful coexistence through dialogue and focus on development.

Dr. Fatima Al-Shamsi, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Administrative Affairs, underscored the university’s pride, as a bridge between the world’s cultures, in hosting the celebrations of the Kazakh embassy in the UAE on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan. She said that the international community prizes and has closely followed the Kazakh experience in multiethnic policy, especially following the establishment of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, which is a unique societal institution and a key instrument in implementing policies founded on equal rights and freedom for all citizens, regardless of their ethnicity or religious beliefs.

Dr. Al-Shamsi, added: “PSUAD’s hosting of this event is aligned with our efforts to engage with the cultures and the peoples of the world and to take note of their issues and preoccupations in order to raise the awareness and expand the perspectives of students through roundtable dialogue and discussions. This constitutes a significant cultural and social addition to the extracurricular activities that help train students in positive practices as future professionals, introduce them to the experiences of others, and allow them to acquire unique experiences and maintain the level of excellence and distinction instituted by the university by developing their critical, analytical, problem-solving, personal learning, and life skills. Such activities also advance students’ cultural awareness and their sensitivity and responsiveness to social issues and global events through the debate of ideas.”

Prof. Aidar Abuov, Director of the Kazakh International Center of Cultures and Religions, commended the economic prosperity and educational renaissance of the UAE and noted that the presence of prestigious, world-class institutions such as Sorbonne University and many more in Abu Dhabi is testimony to the country’s keenness to foster education.

31During the conference, Prof. Abuov, affirmed that Kazakhstan, hailed as the “nexus of civilizations”, is a point of cultural convergence that plays a key role in bringing closer the peoples of East and West, Asia and Europe, and communities from different cultural and religious backgrounds.

“Based on the initiative of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, launched in Astana in September 2003, the Congress of World Leaders and Traditional Religions was held – an event like no other in the world – to discuss opportunities for cooperation and understanding founded on mutual respect.

“Kazakhstan Strategy 2050 establishes civil peace and international harmony as our greatest asset. Indeed, Kazakhstan has become a centre of global interfaith dialogue. Kazakhstan is currently home to more than 140 ethnic and 17 religious groups who live in peace and harmony. Through the Congress of World Leaders and Traditional Religions, Kazakhstan managed to bring together 135 delegates representing various religions in one venue, despite the complicated relations between them. Everyone underlined the values of respect and tolerance, and realistic measures were developed towards cooperation. This showed that peaceful coexistence is an issue that can be resolved through applicable and effective measures.

“The Congress of World Leaders and Traditional Religions is held once every three years and has become a platform for dialogue between religious and world leaders. Over the course of 10 years, the congress has become an effective dialogue mechanism fostering understanding and peaceful coexistence, especially given the current tensions between religious communities.

“Kazakhstan is seeking to make monotheistic and traditional religions a connecting bridge in the dialogue between peoples and civilizations. The world is not a monologue of one system, one religion or culture. The value of this dialogue is that, as a modern form of the interaction of world civilizations, it reflects the objective existence of the unity of our world – the unity of historical destiny, the unity of world economic relations as well as interdependence of political processes,” he said.

During the lecture, Dr. Abuov discussed the results and recommendations of the four sessions of the Congress of World Leaders and Traditional Religions. He noted the role of conversation in clarifying the core tenets of each faith and reducing ambiguity and misunderstandings generated by our ignorance of others. Available opportunities for cooperation and understanding should be discussed on the basis of mutual respect and should aim for peace, harmony, and love, as developments on the international scene have made dialogue between various religious and cultural communities critical if we are to make the world a safer, more tolerant place.

Kazakhstan is a fledgling State that enjoys economic growth, political stability, and social consensus. Kazakhstan has managed to avoid ethnic and religious conflicts and positioned itself as a model for ethic and national harmony.

The Congress of World Leaders and Traditional Religions, organized by Kazakhstan once every three years, has created friendships between world and religious leaders and helped each of them voice their core beliefs and their perceptions of others, to arrive at a common human ground on which can be built the pillars of understanding and peaceful coexistence. The congress transformed dialogue between religious and cultural communities from a slogan into a way of life for religious and other communities, where the one true common denominator is peaceful coexistence.